Below are books and information on Zen, Zen Art, Zen Paintings, History of Zen Art, Zen aesthetics, Sumi-e art and more.
“A brush stroke resembles nothing so much as a sword stroke, the release of an arrow, the judo grip, the sumo throw, the karate chop. They all have one thing in common: they require an extraordinary discipline and concentration of mind on the stroke, the blow, the grip, with exact coordination of mind and body achieved through controlled breathing. They achieve such incomparable perfection of expression that they go beyond the merely physical purpose into the realm of the spirit, and this is what the Chinese call ‘Tao’.” Van Briessen, “The Way of the Brush”
Most of these books are available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
Art & Fear, David Bayles & Ted Orland, The Image Continuum, Santa Cruz, CA, 1993. Observations on the perils and rewards of being an artist.
The Art of Chiang Ming-Shyan, Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, CA, 1998. A modern Chinese artist who combines eastern and western techniques.
The Art of Twentieth Century Zen, Audry Yoshiko Seo with Stephen Addiss, Shamballa Publications, Boston, 1998. Painting and calligraphy of modern Zen artists.
The Art of Zen, Stephen Addiss, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1989. Definitive overview of the art of Zen monks, 1600 – 1925.
The Art Spirit, Robert Henri, Westview Press, Boulder, CO, 1923. Overview of the beliefs and theories of a great teacher and American artist.
The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, Julia Cameron, Putnam Publishing Group, New York, 1992. Guidebook for artist to discover/recover their creative power.
Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony, H.E. Davey, Stone Bridge Press, Berkeley, CA, 1999. Use of calligraphy as a meditative technique.
Brush Mind, Kazuaki Tanahashi, Parallax Press, Berkeley, CA, 1990. Modern artist who uses mop-size brushes to create large paintings. His paintings combined with poems and essays.
Chinese Art: Modern Expressions, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2001. Examples of modern Chinese painters.
Chinese Landscape Paintings, Cleveland Museum of Art, Prentice-Hall International, Inc. London. Examples of the history of Chinese landscape; excellent for study and copying.
Chinese Painting, Francisca Ting, Dover Publications, Inc., 1990. Introduction to Chinese paintings and techniques with many color studies.
Chinese Painting Techniques, Lain Quan Zhen, North Light Books, Cincinnati, OH, 2000. A modern artist applying Chinese techniques to modern watercolor subjects.
Complete Sumi-e Techniques, Sadami Yamada, Japan Publications Trading Company, Tokyo, 1966. Instructions and over 200 examples of figures.
Echoes from the Bottomless Well, Frederick Franck, Vintage Books, New York, 1985. A beautiful combination of art and writing.
Glyphix, L.J.C. Shimoda, Stone Bridge Press, Berkeley, CA 2002. Pictures of what words look like when they are felt and drawn instead of spelled.
Ink Paintings by Gao Xingjian, Homa & Sekey Books, New Jersey, 2002. Examples of the art of modern Chinese artist who is also a Nobel Prize winner in Literature.
An Introduction of Traditional Chinese Painting, He Hanqui & Deng Jun, Foreign Language Press, Beijing, 1995. A beginner’s book of strokes and simple figures.
Japanese Ink Paintings, Ryukyu Saito, Tuttle Publications, Hong Kong, 1959. Introductory book on materials, techniques and subjects.
Japanese Style, Slesin, Cliff & Rozensztroch, Clarkson N. Potter, Inc./Publishers, 1987. Terrific book on Japanese interior design and style with many, many pictures.
Meditations on Design, John Wheatman, Conari Press, Berkeley, CA, 2000. Focus on interior design but valuable insights into style and simplicity.
The Mission of Art, Alex Grey, Shamballa Publications, Boston, 1998. Inspirational book on the spiritual power and aspect of art and artists.
Oriental Brushwork, Wang Chi_Yuan, Pitman Pbulishing Corporation, New York, 1964. Good examples of art to practice copying.
Oriental Painting Course, Wang Jia Nan & Cai Xiaoli, Watson Guptill, New York, 1997. One of the best books for techniques with many, many examples of art.
Return to Painting, Gao Xingjian, Perrenial, New York, 2001. Thoughtful essay and paintings by Xingjian.
Sengai, The Zen of Ink & Paper, D.T. Suzuki, Shamballa, Boston, 1999. Life and art of one of Zen’s leading artists by a modern zen master.
The Sumi-E Book, Yolanda Mayhall, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York,1989. A good introductory book to basic brush strokes and simple figures.
The Tao of Watercolors, Jeanne Carbonetti, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York, 1998. Western artist employing eastern spontaneous techniques to water colors.
The Technique of Chinese Painting, Wu Yangmu, New Amsterdam Books, New York, 1990. Loaded with details and examples of brush strokes and paintings.
The Way of the Brush, Fritz van Briessen, Tuttle Publishing, Boston, 1998. An excellent overview of painting techniques of China and Japan with many pictures useful for study and copying.
Zen Gardens, Erik Borja & Paul Maurer, Sterling Publishing Company, New York, 1999. Wonderful photographs of Zen gardens.
Zen Interiors, Vinny Lee, Steward, Tabori & Chang, New York, 1999. Interior design with emphasis on style and simplicity.
The Zen of Seeing, Frederick Franck, Vintage Books, New York, 1973. A classic in the philosophy of seeing/drawing as meditation.